If you’re into riding fast, like we are, then there’s no greater sensation than getting your knee down. Like sex, you’ll always remember your first time. Also like sex, it’s probably going to be a lot easier than you think it will be, you just need to get your body position right. Here’s how to get your knee down.
The thing with knee down is that it’s kinda pointless. It won’t make you faster, it won’t make you safer and ignore what you read about in forums — you’ll never catch a lowside on your knee. But, it looks awesome, it feels awesome and your friends will think you’re awesome when they see your scuffed knee pucks. The things you need to do to drag knee can help with speed and safety though. Look at knee down as a sign of proper riding form rather than an end unto itself.
It should also be stated that there’s a lot more to safe, competent, fast riding than dragging a knee. We’ll address other skills another time. For now, let’s just concentrate on this, assuming that you already know how to do things like look through a corner, use your brakes and not run into obstacles.
Step One: Get the right equipment. You’ll need a sport, standard or supermoto type motorcycle with good tires, good suspension and reasonable ground clearance. You’re also going to need, at the very minimum, a two-piece leather suit with knee pucks. Not only are you going to be pushing the limits of your own performance capability — meaning you need to wear safety gear — but the articulation offered by a real riding suit makes all the difference in attaining the proper body position.
Step Two: Find some good corners. If you’ve got the funds and a track close to you, book yourself into a track day. Tracks have ambulances, corner workers to pick you up when you fall and instructors who can help translate this advice into reality. Tracks also don’t have cops.
This is the part where we tell you that riding fast and dragging a knee is illegal, dangerous and just a terrible idea. It’s not big and it’s not clever to ride outside of your ability anywhere, anytime or speed when you’re around other drivers, pedestrians or homes. It can also be a bad idea to do it in the middle of nowhere. Out on some mountain road you might find yourself injured and unable to move to safety or find help in an area without cell phone service. So if you’re going to do this on the road bring a buddy, a tool kit, a tire repair kit, a first aid kit and some water. Know how to use all of the above. Having passenger pegs on your bikes is also a good idea as it can save some serious walking.
An ideal road corner on which to get your knee down for the first time is likely going to be taken in second gear, be smoothly paved, have good vision, plenty of runoff and choose uphill rather than downhill. A nice place to turn around on either side of a series of corners is also a good idea. Watch the yellow lines, car drivers won’t.
Step Three: Work up to pace. Start at a nice easy speed, trying to string corners together smoothly without much in the way of heavy braking or acceleration. Gradually up your speeds, limiting how fast you go on the straights to not much faster than you’re going in corners. The goal here is to work up to a good corner speed and lean angle, not to test your brakes. Your tires and your brain need time to get up to temperature and adapt to reacting at speed. Take it easy, don’t push, just do what feels comfortable. Develop a flow.
Now is a good time to learn from your faster friends too. In racing, this is called getting a tow. Ask them to lead you through the corners at a reasonable pace. Watch what they do, where they are on the road, where they’re braking and where they’re accelerating. You can learn a lot doing this in very little time. Don’t feel pressure to keep up though. If they’re riding too fast for you to comfortably follow, just hang back and ask them to slow down next time. Experienced riders, it’s your responsibility to help your friends.
Step Four: body position. This is where it starts getting technical. Way back in 1983, Keith Code put a chapter about body position in “A Twist of the Wrist.” It, along with motorcycle technology, has evolved in the ensuing three decades. The current style — which is designed to work with modern tires, modern suspension and modern motorcycles — is to move once butt cheek off the seat, move your head low and to the inside, stretch your outside arm across the tank and point your inside elbow towards the ground. The main goal is to move your center of gravity as far to the inside of the corner and as low as possible. This means the bike will lean less at a given speed, which in turns means more grip and more safety. Hanging off also allows you to stand the bike up quicker on a corner exit, allowing you to get on the gas earlier. Hanging off means more outright corner speed is possible.
Modern sportbikes are built with this in mind and riding them with the correct form is necessary to fully access their performance potential.
Most guys you see riding on the street sit as far forward as possible with their heels hooked on the pegs and their feet sticking out like a duck. That effectively makes you a dead weight on the bike, harming performance. If you’re talking about getting your knee down, you’re talking about riding a motorcycle as a sport. Start treating it like one by riding your bike athletically.
First, pick your feet up. You want to have the balls of your feet on the tips of the pegs. This will keep your boots off the ground and allow you to put your weight onto the pegs when moving side to side.
Next, scoot back in the seat. Where, exactly, you’ll sit depends on you, your bike and how your suspension is set up.
For all audiences and budgets. We believe that these helmets are the best considering also their quality/price ratio. Below you have a list of the best motorcycle helmets of 2019. What do you think about it?
- Shoei Neotec 2
- AGV K-1
- Scorpion Exo-1400 Air and Exo-1400 Carbon
- HJC RPHA 70
- Shark Spartan Carbon 1.2.
- Arai Renegade-V
- AGV Sportmodular
SHOEI NEOTEC 2
We start talking about the arrival of the second generation of a myth: the Shoei Neotec 2. We could say that it is the reference modular helmetin the market for things like its multifiber shell and the luxurious interiors it presents, with perfect insulation both of the noise as of the air, something that we appreciate in a helmet designed for long trips. Also, remember that it is ready to install the SENA SLR communication system.
And it is a very comfortable helmet that offers all the quality of a brand like Shoei, a top brand that stands out because its helmets are very resistant to the passage of time. The Neotec 2 is to bet on winning horse.
We change radically segment because we are going to talk about the entry segment, the AGV K1. It is a very affordable full-face ideal in case you just got your motorcycle license or you are an urban user. For about 180 euros with the basic colors you can have an AGV in your motorcycle closet.
It is the helmet of access of the Italian manufacturer, with thermoplastic shell, double buckle closure and has that ‘sporty touch’ of AGV characteristic in its design and in the interior padding. Like its predecessor – the AGV K3 – it comes in a lot of graphics with the colors of Valentino Rossi. Overall, it does not surprise us that it is so popular among the kids; those who now call millennials.
SCORPION EXO-1400 AIR AND EXO-1400 CARBON
If you are looking for a sport-touring helmet with guarantees suitable for almost all pockets, the Scorpion Exo-1400 Air is a good choice for several reasons: mainly, for its shell, which has a TCT structure made of fiberglass.
But you should also consider your carbon brother, the carbon fiber Exo-1400 Air Carbon. How many carbon fiber helmets are there in the market for 300 euros? Well, that.
Both have very special things, such as the Airfit system, which allows inflating and deflating the inner paddings for the best possible fit. Undoubtedly, an interesting and not so well known proposal.
HJC RPHA 70
We continue in the sport-touring segment, but this time we tell you about a helmet with a multi-fiber shell: the HJC RPHA 70. Another very versatile full-face helmet, which is worth as much to go every day to work as for weekend getaways. Having this type of helmets is always a success if you go on a motorcycle everywhere. The RPHA 70 is definitely a hit because it is very complete, with solar visor, screen with Pinlock included, good insulation and all for a great price: just over 350 euros with the basic colors.
SHARK SPARTAN CARBON 1.2.
Now we travel to France to talk about another helmet to consider. The Shark Spartan Carbon 1.2. It is a very compact, elegant and lightweight full-face helmet, made of a combination of fiberglass and carbon fiber. As we already told you in the complete review, the Microtech interior paddings have been redesigned with respect to the previous version.
The café-racer segment is booming. You already know: long beard, hipster, bikes with retro aesthetics… Arai has created the Renegade-V that could well cover this segment. It is interesting because with the Arai Renegade-V you will have a helmet 100% Arai; at first glance it looks very similar to other models of the brand and with the super quality and safety of the Japanese brand, but it has been optimized for motorcycles without fairing (there is a lot of retro naked or scrambler type) and they have given a vintage style in the design of the chinrest, imitating the lines of the American helmets of the ’70s. It is a genuine Arai but with an aggressive style that gives it a rebellious point.
And we close with another helmet that leaves a bit of the pattern of its segment: the AGV Sportmodular, possibly the modular helmet with the most sportive genetics of the market. You know that in Italy they are passionate about speed – even the coffee machines that are manufactured there are Racing – and the Italians of AGV have put part of that DNA in this modular helmet: it is a touring helmet with a carbon fiber shell that makes it really light.
There is also a detail that we like: the reversible interior (one side is designed to offer warmth and the other to be cooler). If you have done many kilometers, but you can not wash the interior, for whatever reason, then half turn and ready!
And this is our list of best helmets of 2019. We hope you write us in the comments which one is for you the best or, simply, which one you have fallen in love with and you are going to buy.
FIFTY YEARS OF HISTORY
Yamaha motorcycles will be manufactured in Bangladesh starting next year, a move which the initiators say will offer competitive prices to bikers.
It will take up the rest of this year to set up the manufacturing operations, said FH Ansarey, managing director of ACI Motors, a joint initiative of ACI Limited and Yamaha Motor Corporation bringing the Japanese brand’s two-wheelers.
Ansarey’s comment came at a launching ceremony in Le Méridien Dhaka yesterday for ACI Motors’ assembly plant for completely knocked-down kits at Sreepur in Gazipur.
Sitting on 6 acres of land, the plant took about Tk 100 crore to build and has an annual assembling target of 60,000 motorcycles.
Two models will now be assembled at the plant, said Subrata Ranjan Das, executive director of ACI Motors, adding, “Already their price has gone down in the local market.”
Inaugurating the plant as chief guest, Salman F Rahman, the prime minister’s private industry and investment advisor, termed it a milestone.
“…in a sense that two very successful and professional companies, one from Bangladesh and one from Japan, got together in a joint venture to assemble the world-class bikes,” he said.
The government wants to facilitate initiatives taken up by investors so as to increase production, he added.
“Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) should create an environment using which any project can be implemented automatically and in a simple way,” said Rahman.
He also hoped that Bangladesh will do good in World Bank Group’s ease of doing business index, going up to 125 from this year’s ranking of 176.
There has been significant progress in many areas with the full co-operation of Bida and other government agencies, he said.
Within the next two to three weeks, entrepreneurs will be able to complete registration formalities of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms online, said Rahman.
Aminul Islam, executive chairman of Bida, said Bangladesh needed to look beyond the RMG sector should it want to graduate to a higher middle-income country.
Motorcycle assembly is such a step, he said, adding that the inaugurated plant would be a lesson for other world-class companies to engage in tie-ups with Bangladeshi companies to manufacture their products in the country.
On assembling motorcycles in Bangladesh, Yasutaka Suzuki, executive general manager of Yamaha Motor Corporation, said they put focus on customers’ confidence and never compromise on quality.
Last year 5.37 million Yamaha motorcycles were sold, he said, adding that Asia was a big market, especially Bangladesh, for its huge young generation. “So we agreed to set the plant here to provide them bikes at a fair price,” said Suzuki.
M Anis Ud Dowla, chairman of ACI Group, said the government has made a supportive assembling policy for the private sector. “It needs to remain consistent for a period,” he said. Arif Dowla, the group’s managing director, also spoke at the event.
It’s not easy to categorize the Ducati Diavel. Since its introduction on the market in 2010, this muscular Italian bike was born to defy concepts, and with motorcyclists around the world accepting the innovative concept, Ducati’s decision proved to be a good one. The Diavel created a new segment and broke preconceived ideas about this type of motorcycles. She created what Ducati says it’s a muscle bike, and the inspiration for their latest version is the classic American muscle cars.
The main goal for Ducati this year was to create a bike that mixed some characteristics of three different bikes. A bit like what they did with the Multistrada, a model the Italian brand says it’s a “4 in 1”, but in the case of the Diavel it’s a “3 in 1”. So, the new Diavel presents herself as a sporty naked, as a relaxed cruiser, and also as a sportbike.
To achieve this goal, Ducati has used on the new Diavel a set of features sourced from each of these three different type of bike: from the current sportbikes the Diavel gets inspiration for the lower body, side fairings, and the upswept rear. From the sporty naked like the Monster, the Diavel gets the high and wide handlebar and that big fuel tank. And from cruiser bikes, the Diavel gets a big wheelbase and low seat.
The engine installed on the trellis frame works as a structural element. It’s the well-known Testastretta L-Twin with 1262 cc that we’ve already seen being used on the Carbon and Titanium versions of the Diavel. Its performance is improved through the new intake, exhaust, injection. Everything was done to allow the engine to develop 159 hp at 9500 rpm, while torque goes up to 129 Nm at 7500 rpm.
But more than the numbers shown on the tech specs, what impresses the most on this engine is the way we are allowed to explore it. That’s because Ducati is now using the fantastic Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT). With this system in place, the Testastretta shows strength and power at any rpm.
From 2500 rpm the engine just revs up really fast, and up until 7500 rpm I did notice that the twin-cylinder engine develops much more torque than before. And even over the 7500 rpm mark, where the engine reaches its peak torque, the rpm’s will keep on rising without any problem until the rev limiter reveals itself near the 10.000 rpm mark.
As I said, this behavior of this Italian engine is great, and that’s the work of the DVT system. The DVT allows Ducati to constantly change and adapt the timing of the valve’s opening. The camshafts are rotated through a hydraulic actuator. The amount of oil inside the actuator controls the opening of the valves.
At lower revs, the DVT allows for a small overlap on intake and exhaust valves, smoothening the power delivery of the engine. But as speed grows and the rpm’s also getting higher, the DVT will allow for a greater overlap and that way the rider will get the full power of the 159 hp. On the original Diavel the engine was a bit rough, but on the new Diavel 1260 S the engine is really smooth and linear in the way it delivers its power and torque.
To let me discover the new Diavel 1260 S, the version that gets better components, Ducati invited me to travel to some of the best roads in Spain, in Marbella and Ronda. The riding position isn’t as relaxed as a pure cruiser, so the rider needs to lean over the fuel tank to reach the wide handlebars. The rearsets are now higher and further back than before, meaning I had to flex the legs a bit more than on the older Diavel. But the exhaust headers are now hidden below the engine, so it’s easy to find a position to hide the legs near the engine.
Over the first few kilometers, I’ve opted to go in Urban riding mode. With Urban, the Diavel 1260 S only delivers 100 hp. And the electronic riding aids are much intrusive. It was the perfect way to start my day aboard the Diavel 1260 S.
The wide seat, which is covered in suede on the S version and features the Diavel logo on aluminum plate, is comfortable enough and its design allows for taller riders to find a great riding position. It lets us feel like part of the bike. At just 780 mm in height, the seat is pretty low, and that’s a good thing while riding in urban areas or maneuvering the Diavel on tight places.
But the relaxed riding didn’t last long. The Ducati lead rider showed us the way to find what I can only describe as motorcycle heaven. Soon we were riding along some of the best roads in the Ronda mountains. That was the moment to switch to Sport riding mode. As soon as the system accepted my commands, I immediately felt the Diavel 1260 S being more reactive to my inputs, and throttle response is much more immediate than before. We need to be careful at small throttle openings since the engine will deliver its torque really fast, but that massive 240 mm Pirelli Diablo Rosso III rear tyre will manage the 129 Nm of torque with ease.
I didn’t feel the loss of grip for most of the journey, but on some polished sections of asphalt in Ronda, the eight-level adjustable traction control worked well helping me to keep the Diavel 1260 S on the ideal line. The traction control doesn’t cut the power delivery too much, and I’ve only noticed it was working through the many yellow and red lights blinking on the new 3,5-inch TFT screen.
It’s also in Sport riding mode that I was able to use the premium components featured on the Diavel 1260 S. This version gets Öhlins suspensions front and back. They have a stiffer setting from the factory, but that’s a good thing since the Diavel still weighs 244 kg wet, meaning the suspensions do need to be stiff to manage all that weight moving around. Even with all that weight, I didn’t feel the Diavel heavy. The low center of gravity helps to hide those 244 kg, and the handlebars allow for ease of movements, without much effort, while dancing from corner to corner.
It’s not as agile as a sportbike, but it does handle tight corners pretty well for a bike with 1600 mm wheelbase. We need to get used to the mass, and the initial moment of leaning into a corner can be a bit tricky. But as soon as the Diavel is leaned on the right trajectory, it will hold the line without a problem. At least until the rearsets start touching the asphalt.
The last part of the 220 km journey was a bit tighter than usual. Slow second gear corners almost all the way to the “finish line”. That was again a moment to change to a new riding mode: Touring. Of all the three riding modes, this is the one that I like the most. It still lets the Testastretta to develop the full 159 hp, but at the same time, the throttle response is smoother than in Sport.
Tight corner means the brakes need to be perfect. Or at least near perfect. And that’s exactly what we get on the Ducati Diavel 1260 S! The brakes are sourced from Brembo. It’s a sportbike level brake system, with large diameter brake discs and Brembo M50 monoblock calipers at the front. Combined with PR16/19 master cylinder, this means I was able to brake really late into the corner and keep pushing the brakes for 85 km without feeling any brake fade.
The ABS with cornering function does miracles. You can feel the ABS working through some light lever vibrations, but that’s it. The rest of the time the brakes will offer great feedback and braking power, allowing to ride this Italian muscle bike really fast even on tight roads.
I’ve also been impressed with the new Ducati Quickshift system. On this S version, it’s factory equipment, and after riding the Diavel for over 200 kms I’d say it’s almost impossible to not have a Diavel fitted with this quickshift. At lower gears (1st to 2nd) the transmission will still be abrupt, but past that point and I almost didn’t feel the gear changes. And even when going down the gears the feeling is basically the same.
I end my review on the Ducati Diavel 1260 S going back to the beginning of my text. The Diavel is, now more than before, a bike that mixes three different types of motorcycles into one. It’s not a cruiser, but the long wheelbase allows for good straight-line stability. It’s not a naked like a Monster because of its sheer weight, but the riding position is very similar to the Monster. It’s also not a sportbike, it doesn’t offer big lean angles and over 200 hp. But the components are almost like the ones we find on a superbike, as are the electronic riding aids.
With near perfect quality components and fit, the Ducati Diavel 1260 S is a premium bike that deserves a lot of credit for changing the way we look and ride this kind of motorcycles. It’s expensive, but then again, what you’ll get for your money is well worth the effort!